12/09/2015 5:51 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – December 9, 2015 – Like so many Lake Central stars of yesteryear, Saint Joseph’s College infielder Alex Nisle will spend a summer with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen.
Manager Adam Enright has met the unofficial Lake Central quota that has become customary at Oil City Stadium. One of the area’s premier high school programs, Lake Central has had at least one of its products sport an Oilmen uniform every year of the team’s existence.
“I talked to (pitcher) Christian (Sullivan) last summer; I’m pretty good friends with him,” Nisle said. “He liked it a lot. It’s a good experience, playing in front of a big crowd all the time in a great atmosphere. When I was given the opportunity to play for the Oilmen, I hopped on it.”
During his senior season at Lake Central this past spring, Nisle compiled a .415 average to go along with two home runs, eight triples, 11 doubles and 39 RBIs. Out of his 39 hits, 21 went for extra bases. He paced the Indians in RBIs and batting average.
Lake Central qualified for semistate Nisle’s junior year and was ranked in the state’s top five for most of his senior season. Playing for a program with such a strong baseball tradition came with both perks and challenges.
“It’s a great team to be a part of, but it’s also very hard because the expectations are always very high, which I like,” Nisle said. “There’s always competition fighting for a spot. In the end, it makes us a better as a team. It was nice representing that school.”
When Nisle takes the field, he’ll become the seventh Lake Central graduate to play for the Oilmen, joining Jimmy McNamara, Cody Dykema, Ryan Burvan, Aaron Glatt, Alec Olund and Sullivan. The Indians will draw even with rival Munster for the most all-time Oilmen.
Offense is a strength of Nisle’s game, but he’s working on adjusting to the college level at third base. He also saw time in the outfield this fall and could play there for Division-II Saint Joseph’s in the Great Lakes Valley Conference during the spring.
“We haven’t given up on him as a third baseman; I think he still might play there,” Pumas coach Rick O’Dette said. “He may end up working his way to left down the road, just because he’s an offensive guy and it helps his bat when he’s more confident on the defensive side. He’s been hitting really well; defensively he’s getting better and better at third base.”
O’Dette described Nisle as a player who always has a smile on his face and doesn’t have too many bad days. The coach has also gathered in his short time with the first-year Puma that he’s a perfectionist.
“He’s a great clubhouse guy, and obviously his baseball ability is fantastic,” O’Dette said. “He’s a big, physical guy, so I think it’s a little easier for him to adjust to the velocity of college pitching. I think he’s going to help the Oilmen and help us as well.”
Now that the Oilmen are entering their fifth season, they will have players on their roster that were only freshmen in high school when the inaugural team took the region and Midwest Collegiate League by storm in 2012.
“I live about 20 minutes from the stadium,” Nisle said. “I’ve gone to games in the past. It’s exciting growing up around a team of that stature. It’s really nice to play for a team like that.”